Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being Infertile in January

I hope you're sitting down.  Because I'm about to announce a MAJOR newsflash:  I’m a pro-lifer! I know, I know. When you’ve finished gasping for breath I’ll go on.

I’m also secondarily infertile. Again…catch your breath.  Breathe...breathe....

OK…ready?? Moving on…

So…….this isn’t always an easy mix. Because of Roe vs. Wade’s anniversary, January is the busiest month of the year for pro-life activists. For an infertile pro-life activist it can also be the toughest.

My job, as the president of the board of my state pro-life organization, is to “educate citizens on life issues.” More specifically, we staff exhibit tables, speak to groups, hold prayer vigils, etc. Pretty much anything that educates. Ironic, right?  :)

And I'm sure it goes without saying why that makes my infertile situation so difficult.

Disclaimer: I don’t write this post because I feel sorry for myself (well, haha, sometimes quite frankly I do!), or because I want you to feel sorry for me, or to make myself sound like some sort of hero. I assure you I’m NOT.  I do this because I believe it's my vocation.  And clearly I don’t do my work in the most graceful, penitential manner. I believe the pro-life issue is the most important one the Catholic Church stands for, because without life, then none of the other issues even exist. I’m just using this forum to speak honestly about my trials. I know my infertility is my cross and I must bear it with humility. I just haven’t achieved that humility thing quite yet.

Anyway, let me give you a couple of examples:
1. I spoke to a Baptist church’s youth group awhile back. The youth pastor had asked us to speak because he was concerned about some of his members’ pro-“choice” views. During the presentation, we showed the group what a 10-week post-conception baby looked like. One of the girls, probably no older than 15, gasped slightly and admitted without remorse, “Wow, mine was 15 weeks. I had to go to New Jersey for my abortion.” Ugh. *SUCKER PUNCH*

2. Prayer vigils. Standing outside an abortion clinic and watching desperate women enter, feeling they have no other option besides abortion is probably the most painful of my duties. I want to stop every one of them and say – “You DO have another option!! And I’m standing right here!” Unfortunately very few women actually stop to talk to sidewalk counselors, because they’ve already made their decision. Standing there praying that women change their minds about killing their unborn children is almost too much to bear. But I do it. Because they need the prayers. And God knows I need the penance!
Let me be clear – it’s not like I expected anything different when I entered pro-life leadership! I was basically a pro-life activist in the womb, thanks to my parents, so I knew all of the excuses, justifications, and arguments already.  I knew what I was getting into.  But I wasn’t (or didn’t know I was) infertile when I started really getting into the movement at this stage of my life. So especially at first it was difficult to come to terms with.

We’re in a small, very liberal state where the pro-life community is subsequently rather small. My husband swears that we haven’t gotten pregnant because God needs my energy to be focused on this task, in this place, at this time. Which makes sense and I get that – no matter how hard we try, we seem to be stuck here! Not that I believe myself to be irreplaceable, but I just don’t think there’s anyone out there right now who has the time to put into what I do.  I have a hard enough time trying to fill open commitee positions on my board!  Although I hope that the next generation will provide a strong new leader in the next few years. But I’m trying to focus on the fact that this is where I’m needed right now.

So today officially starts my busy week. Tonight we’re screening the film Blood Money at the local indie theater, tomorrow I’m speaking to students in 7th & 8th grades to prepare them for their trip to D.C., Thursday I'm being interviewed on a local radio show by a less-than-sympathetic host, Friday is our local March for Life, and Monday I will head to D.C. for the national March for Life. The best (only?) way for me to get through it is to push my own problems to the back of my mind for a few days.  (And alcohol.  Oops...was that out loud??  :) )  And I will get through it. Probably not without some veiled tears, but I will.


  1. I'm glad you addressed this. I wondered how you handled it. A few years ago I went through all the training to be a pregnancy counselor for Project Gabriel. Then a friend called who was shocked and upset to be pregnant and I about lost it. I've been able to rejoice for all of my friends (praise God) but hearing her anguish about did me in. I knew I wasn't ready to handle Project Gabriel on such a close and personal level. I really admire you for answering the Lord's call in this manner.

    Last year I felt like the Lord gave me back my voice in NFP. For years I felt unable to really promote NFP to fertiles b/c they'd think, "You just don't know what it's like..." But He showed me that IS my voice... "YOu're right! I don't know! And i would give ANYTHING to know! You are so blessed!!" It was such an ah-ha moment for me and really helped me.

  2. Lauren, thanks for the encouragement! And thanks for sharing about NFP. I definitely know all about that too! :)

  3. I found your blog via Leila, and I'm so glad I did! I really appreciate this post.

    I've been helping with Indianapolis' 40 days for life the last year and a half or so, and we had been dealing with a pregnancy loss and subsequent sub-fertility, and it was sooo hard to be involved and praying at PP. There is an abortion facility two blocks from my house, but I have only gone to pray once because it is just.so.hard.

    The work you are doing is so important; I'm praying God will make me brave enough to be more vocal in standing up for life. :)

  4. Oh God bless you and your work. You are a warrior in a very tough battle. We need people like you in the trenches!

    I was very involved in the pro-life movement at one point, but then got very. burned. out. We used to pray at the abortion clinic a lot (the hubs even had a rotten peach thrown at him one time! ha! very funny story...) but I wanted to adopt every one of those babies and it just became too hard. So we worked on getting the prolife license plate in our state instead and yipee! it passed. Now we are really burned out.

    Anyway, you are so strong and I will pray for you and all the work you are doing. You are touching so many hearts.

  5. Wow, I can't believe that teenage girl's comment about her own abortion. That's shocking. I don't know how you held it together!

    I can relate with your pain of secondary infertility. We struggled for over 7 years with secondary IF. It sucks. In a different way than primary IF, but still very painful. I could NOT do much with pro-life during that time because it was so painful, so I applaud you for being courageous and for suffering for such a wonderful cause. I couldn't do our NFP talks either during that time because it drove me crazy to counsel couples who couldn't BEAR the thought of having a baby until they were absolutely ready. Drove me nuts! Anyway, I rant.

    Fight the good fight!!! You're awesome.

  6. You ladies are all so inspiring! Thanks for all of your kind words. It's support like this that makes the job so much easier!

    Sarah...so glad you stopped by! I love that you're from Indy. I'm an Indiana native, about an hour north of you. Hope you return often!

  7. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    Not the same cross, but for years, I was a single lady working to promote/protect marriage. Family/friends would wonder why I got so emotional and frustrated with my life. I was even accused of just being a needy woman. I'd have to remind them: My day - every day - is about marriage and the beauty of it, the gift of it, the benefits of it, and how it's being torn down by our society and how we need to resurrect it. And then I drive home to my empty apartment. At one point I was accepted into a fantastic graduate program for Marriage and Family studies and just couldn't do it. Sorry, I just typed way more than I intended... again, great post and great work!